As families come together for the holidays this year, many of them for the first time since the pandemic, some older generations will be seeing grandchildren for the first time at a time when more of the younger generation are openly questioning their gender identity.
UK retailer Boots touched on this just briefly in its holiday ad, but Diageo-owned whisky brand J&B openly tackles the issue in an emotive and touching ad from Spain that's been winning praise on social media for celebrating the transgender community.
Created by Madrid agency El Ruso de Rocky, the ad tells the story of a grandfather who starts to experiment with make-up in his bedroom. He's tentative at first but then invests in some better cosmetics and takes tips from beauty campaigns he notices in the local town. Then his family arrives for the holidays, and he notices his 26-year-old grandchild, "Alvaro." He takes them aside and returns with Alvaro transformed into “Ana,” and welcomed by the family.
The spot directed by Gabe Ibáñez via Agosto, is set to a cover version of Charles Aznavour's “She” and stars multidisciplinary artist Ella Di Amore, who, at 26 years of age, is in the process of gender transition.
According to Diageo, the film is underlined by the fact that many in the LGBTQ+ community feel uncomfortable being their true selves around loved ones during the holiday season According to a 2022 study by the Ministry of Equality in Spain, for 77% of trans or non-binary people surveyed, family was the most difficult or problematic setting, and 19% purposely avoided family encounters. Diageo calls the issue “Christmas Homosexolitude.”
“At J&B we want everyone to feel free to celebrate at Christmas, to give visibility to a reality that thousands of people in the LGBTQ+ community face in seeking a safe space to be their true selves during the holiday season,” said Úrsula Mejía-Melgar, Diageo's marketing director for Southern Europe. “And also for the families who frequently suffer the absence of those loved ones who, due to their gender identification or sexual preference, are not present for the Christmas celebrations.”